Most of the time I’m certain that I am doing what the Lord has called me to do. But every once in a while the doubts creep in. You probably have your own set of familiar doubts. For me as a hymn writer, I occasionally fear that I’ve wasted my life by writing in a relatively traditional style. Should I have consciously reached out to my children’s generation by learning to write in a more contemporary style? Do most who hear my hymns dismiss them as old-fashioned?
But as I pray, I see my situation in a better light. Maybe these observations will help you when your fears whisper in your ear.
1. Don’t follow the crowd. In my case, thousands, perhaps millions of songs are being written in the contemporary style currently popular. Would I really be of greater service to the Church by simply adding more to that growing number? Even business thinkers like Seth Godin, writing from a non-religious perspective, advise creators not to think mass market but to be content serving their own particular customers.
2. Be yourself. I need to be the writer God created me to be. I’ve written some songs in a more contemporary style, but for the most part, that style is not native to me. I naturally think and feel in the style in which I write. But it’s more than familiarity that draws me. I genuinely believe that a more traditional style will, in the long run, have a broader and more inclusive appeal.
3. Each of us is a member of the Body of Christ. We are called to fill our particular role, not to be all things to all people. I read Numbers 4:16-28 and see that even in the Old Testament sanctuary, God appointed each group of priests and Levites to their own very particular duties. They were to focus on doing their daily tasks faithfully and wholeheartedly, out of love for God. That is still the way I approach my hymn writing.
Father, my goal is not to be successful. My goal is to please You. I want to be Spirit-driven, not customer-driven. Where I have failed, please forgive and redirect me. I am Yours completely, now and forever.